On 25 April 2014 the Urus-Martan City Court starts trial in the case of Ruslan Kutaev, a famous Chechen public figure. He is charged with criminal offense under Article 228 (2) of Russian Criminal Code (illegal acquisition and possession of large quantity of drugs without intent to sell). Human rights defenders with the Joint Mobile Group in Chechnya (JMG) are convinced that the evidence has been planted, and the defendant forced to give false confession under torture.
On 21 February Mr Kutaev’s relatives applied to the JMG for legal assistance. They stated that a day before Ruslan had been abducted by unknown armed men in camouflage uniforms.
The public investigation established the following. According to Mr Kutaev, he was kidnapped from his brother’s house and taken to an unknown place. There, for about half an hour, the Minster of the Interior of the Chechen Republic Apti Alautdinov and the Head of Ramzan Kadyrov’s Executive Office Magomed Daudov were beating the detainee. Then the social activist was tortured in a basement, including with electric shocks, in order to force him to sign some papers. Feeling fear for his life, Mr Kutaev signed the documents after he had been brought to operational-search unit no.2 in Staropromyslovskiy district of Grozny.
At night Mr Kutaev was first transferred to the Urus-Martan District Department of the Interior, and then, at about 5 am – to a temporary isolation ward. Having refused to sign false confessions, Ruslan was beaten again and got two rib fractures. Ill-treatment continued until he agreed to all the conditions the torturers had set. Namely, he had to plead guilty to all the charges brought against him, and to promise to file no complaints concerning the torture he had been subjected to.
Nevertheless, during human rights defenders’ visit to the temporary isolation ward Mr Kutaev managed to tell Igor Kalyapin, a member of the Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights, that he had been ill-treated in revenge for the conference dedicated to the 70-th anniversary of Chechen – Ingush deportation of 1944. The «unauthorized» conference raised anger of Ramzan Kadyrov.
The public investigation carried out by human rights defenders established facts giving reasonable grounds to believe that between February 20 and February 22, 2014, public officials acting in an official capacity repeatedly inflicted severe physical and mental pain and suffering on Mr Ruslan Kutaev for the purpose of obtaining from him confession statements to a criminal offense.
Human rights defenders with the Joint Mobile Group lodged a relevant torture complaint with the Investigative Committee. However, a special investigator of the Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee for the Chechen Republic, after a preliminary examination, refused to initiate criminal proceedings. Mr Kutaev’s representatives have requested access to the pre-investigation inquiry file.